mindshare once again front and centre of art and mental health

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By Sarah Jean

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Mindshare officially relaunched, in a collaboration with Draw Your (S)words Poetry, at Chateau Apollo on Wednesday night.

An initiative by the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia, mindshare is a creative mental health community and online platform that provides a voice for those with lived experience of mental illness.

“I was going to call it magic, but it’s just a real, human space.” – mindshare’s online editor, Anna Jeavons

One of the featured performers, superstar poet Alison Paradox said, (speaking of living in a disabled/chronically ill body), “there’s the person you wish you could be all the time, and the person you have to cope with *actually* being.”

In this room, those two personas could marry, in a rare opportunity to mingle with people who understood, or at the very least were open to trying.

Below fairy-lights and a beautifully hand-painted Mindshare banner, a packed crowd buzzed. You could feel the warmth and openness, and, as the performers began, a quick glance around the room revealed attentive faces, no phones or distractions in sight.

Before a backdrop of diverse and colourful artwork (kindly provided by Neami National‘s visual art programs), ears were pricked and bodies angled forward. There was a power just in that, a power that showed how invested people were in showing up.

The wonderful Mad Tea Co. poured delicious herbal teas, Mojo Kombucha was passed around, and I overheard a quiet voice whisper, “it feels like people are actually listening.”

Draw Your (S)words is a monthly spoken word and poetry event that has built its own pre-existing family. You can feel the love in the air – the encouraging applause and whistles of friends rally only the silence when the story gets thick. It’s a place where risks are possible… and encouraged.

We saw ten live open mic’ers take to the stage to weave their thoughts into stories and saw the small world it is when we start opening our truths. Where people are brave, and united by a common, shared, strength – and a love for words and art and cleverness.

It provided the perfect setting for the launch of Mindshare, a place where misfits can realise they’re not alone, and can express themselves through their own form.

In the words of feature musician Georgy & Delilah, “Music for me has always been a form of therapy, less of something I want to do and more of something I absolutely must do to maintain equilibrium with my mental wellbeing. Through connecting with audiences and sharing my story through my music I hope I can encourage other people to talk, share, feel less ashamed and feel less alone.”

Mindshare is a powerful initiative. One that allows people to express, to connect, to listen and to be heard; that gives space to the people who need to create it, and stories to people who need them.

If you’re someone living with a mental illness, a relative, a friend, carer or someone working in the mental health sector, and want to be involved – you can head to www.mindshare.org.au for all the details.

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